News Articles

FROM THE STATES: Fla., Okla., Ga. evangelism/missions news; [H]er footprints will long be seen … for years to come,’

Today’s From the States features items from:
Florida Baptist Witness
The Baptist Messenger (Oklahoma)
The Christian Index (Georgia)

Convention’s Goodwin leaving
lasting imprint on Florida WMU
By Barbara Denman

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Florida Baptist Convention) — Cindy Goodwin grew up in a home with a heart brimming for missions. The native Floridian, born and raised in Miami in the 1950s when its culture was steeped in Southern charm and tourism, was guided by a mother who poured her life into missions through her church, her association and the Florida Woman’s Missionary Union. Goodwin shared that passion and followed in her footsteps.

She instilled that missions legacy in the lives of countless girls and women across that state; and in her own daughter, Anne Wilson, who serves as Florida Baptists’ Camp WorldLight director, and her granddaughter, who is often by her mother’s side during camp.

As team strategist for the Women’s Missions and Ministries/Missions Education team, Goodwin crisscrossed the state leading conferences, overnight mission events, camping events and annual meetings — all designed to instill a love for missionaries, missions and missions education into lives of Florida Baptists. She traveled to other nations to support and demonstrate her love for international missionaries.

This past August, the mission whirlwind retired from the Florida Baptist Convention. She served “faithfully” for 21 years, said Craig Culbreth, strategist for the Convention’s Missional Support Group.

“Although she is gone, her footprints will long be seen in the lives of women and young ladies and children for years to come,” Culbreth said. “She made a lasting imprint in so many lives in Florida. Her heart for missions is very strong.”

“Cindy’s legacy is her love for missions education for all generations,” said Anna Guy, president of the Florida Woman’s Missionary Union. “She is an ‘out of the box thinker’ and is always open to new ideas, not stuck on ‘this is the way we’ve always done it.’ ”

The past two decades have been ones of change as many churches no longer saw the need for Southern Baptist mission organizations, opting for nondenominational programs instead.

Yet to Goodwin, who has sought to broaden the ways of involvement to other audiences, “it has been an exciting and challenging time as churches and associations have developed strategies to respond to changing populations and changing expectations for worship, training and ministry,” she explained.

“Serving with mission leaders across Florida has given me the opportunity to know and love those who are committed to the cause of Christ,” she added.

Goodwin led out in significant innovations, which included the development of online courses to train missions and ministries leaders, the development of the leadership and ministry teams, and the All Leadership Team Retreat at Lake Yale.

A pastor’s wife, she sought ways to involve and highlight the work of other ministers’ wives by developing the Clyde Merrill Maguire Minister’s Wife Award and the annual meeting of the Florida Baptist Ministers’ Wives Conference.

She also spearheaded a path to enhance and strengthen women’s ministries in the state.

Goodwin came to the Convention from Birmingham, Ala., in 1993 to serve as associate director in this area, specializing in missions education for children. Prior to her move, she was a children program coordinator at Woodlawn Church in Birmingham.

In her retirement, the Samford University graduate, age 66, has moved back Birmingham to spend more time with her family — her husband, Howard, who recently retired as pastor of Terry Parker Baptist Church in Jacksonville; her two adult children and three grandchildren.

The couple also hopes to volunteer in a variety of ministry opportunities through their church in that city.

Goodwin believes the future of Florida women’s missions and ministries/missions education “is bright as new leadership brings innovative ideas and new leaders emerge in the churches to build on a rich heritage and continue meaningful missions education opportunities and ministries to advance the Lord’s Kingdom.”
This article appeared in the Florida Baptist Witness (gofbw.com), newsjournal of the Florida Baptist Convention. Barbara Denman is director of communications for the Florida Baptist Convention.
Church begun in
Mexico prison
By Staff

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (The Baptist Messenger) — On Fri., Sept. 19, a celebration was held as believers in Guerrero, Mexico inaugurated the first Baptist church established in a prison.

Six churches were represented: First Baptist Church of Zihuatanejo, Israel Baptist Church of Coacoyul, Bethel Baptist Church of Vallecitos, Christ Loves You Baptist Church of Petatlan, New Jerusalem Baptist Mission of Sierra de San Luis la Loma, Gethsemane Baptist Church of Zacatula Guerrero. Twenty-two visiting members joined in the celebration.

Work actually began there on May 13, 2010, with Brothers Jesus and Leo, and in the span of four years, the church has grown into a membership of 59 baptized inmates.

Preaching at the inaugural service was Pastor Abraham Cervantes, director of the Convención Nacional Bautista Mexicana (Baptist National Convention of Mexico) mission conference. The new church has been named Mount Sinai.

Wilbert Martinez directed the program, and Hilario Rojas Sotelo baptized six new members. At the end of the service, congregates enjoyed a delicious chicken stew.

“I thank God for this progress due to your large team of collaborators,” Sotelo said. “Thanks to their advice and motivation, we have attempted to begin new works everywhere. Glory be to God!”

“How exciting that this ‘prison church’ has grown and actually becomes the 53rd church started in the past eight years of Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO) partnership missions in Guerrero!” Said Sam Porter, BGCO partnership and volunteer missions specialist. “It is the first one planted in a prison, yet we have ministry in four of the prisons in Guerrero.

“God is working, moving, and changing lives, there. The main thing lacking, however, is that we need more Oklahoma Baptist churches getting on board and becoming partners with these new church plants. About 20 Oklahoma churches have been involved over the past eight years, but we actually need 20 more to encourage, partner, and be blessed in this partnership.

“Henry Blackaby said, ‘find where God is at work and join him there!'” Porter said churches interested in becoming a part of the Oklahoma-Guerrero partnership can contact his office.

“If you want to join this movement of our Lord, please call the BGCO Partnership and Volunteer missions office at 405/942-3000, ext 4337, or email [email protected],” he said.
This article appeared in The Baptist Messenger (baptistmessenger.com), newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.
Tent meetings still
draw crowds across Georgia
By Jim Burton

MADISON, Ga. (Christian Index) — Years ago, Bobby West would invite men from his home church, Centennial Baptist in Rutledge, to his farm for a deer supper. West liked serving, and the men liked eating.

Then the church grew, and the crowds at West’s farm became so large that eventually the only reasonable solution was for the church’s Men’s Ministry to sponsor The Sportsman’s Night. Still, they needed a venue.

For several years, the church rented tents for about $8,000 to host the hundreds who attended, said Michael Stovall, Centennial’s pastor. But this year, they sought another solution, and the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) had one.

With Cooperative Program (CP) funds, the GBC began purchasing tents in the 1990s. They currently have three: 40×80, which can seat 500; 60×90, which can seat 750; and 60×150, which can seat 1,250. Each is available for Georgia Baptist church-ministry initiatives including Vacation Bible School, revivals, block parties, harvest festivals, and wild game dinners.

For Centennial, their annual 2014 Sportsman’s Dinner drew 610 to hear Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson tell about his African safaris as he presented an evangelistic invitation. Thirty-five attendees made professions of faith.

“A tent signals something special is happening,” said Phil Burgess, who volunteers as the tent ministry coordinator. “They are a tremendous evangelistic tool.”

Tents as magnets

Against the night sky, tents shine and naturally draw attention, particularly with the overflow of music. Burgess fondly remembers the north Georgia church that pitched a tent outside their sanctuary for a revival. A man walking by wandered into the tent.

Something had turned this man off to church when he was young, and he had vowed never to attend again.

“If the revival had been in the church, he wouldn’t have stepped foot inside,” said Burgess, who serves Shadowbrook Baptist Church in Suwanee as superintendent of buildings. “But because it was in a tent, he found Jesus.”

When the Israelites escaped Egypt, God instructed them to build a Tabernacle. In its simplest form, the tabernacle was a portable tent, which served the Israelites during their 40 years of wilderness wandering. The tent was always set up in the center of their encampment, and it contained the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Commandments. Most importantly, the spirit of God resided in the Tabernacle. The Israelites would go to the Tabernacle tent to make sacrifices for their sins as they encountered a gracious God.

As Burgess and other volunteers across the state service the tent ministry, they regularly see God at work, particularly in the host church. The GBC contract requires the host church to supply sweat equity, which typically translates to about 15 local volunteers.

“If I have 15 guys that will listen to me,” Burgess said with a laugh, “we can set up or break down in two hours.”

The benefit is twofold, Burgess said. The church saves money to do other mission work. And, “When you get a group of guys together, the fellowship is unreal.”

In 2013, only about one-half of churches that utilized this GBC resource filed reports with the state convention. Of those reporting, about 21,000 attended events that resulted in 667 professions of faith, 93 rededications, and 31 baptisms.

“It’s more of a humbling experience for me to think that I’ve been a part,” Burgess said.
This article appeared in The Christian Index (christianindex.org), newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention. Jim Burton is a photojournalist living in Cumming. Ga.
EDITOR’S NOTE: From the States, published each Tuesday by Baptist Press, relays news and feature stories from state Baptist papers and other publications on initiatives by Baptist churches, associations and state conventions in evangelism, church planting and Great Commission outreach, including partnership missions. Reports about churches, associations and state conventions responding to the International Mission Board’s call to embrace the world’s 3,800 unengaged, unreached people groups also are included in From the States, along with reports about church, associational and state convention initiatives in conjunction with the North American Mission Board’s call to Southern Baptist churches to broaden their efforts in starting new churches and satellite campuses. The items appear in Baptist Press as originally published.

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